Will T. Massey

Will T. Massey’s boyish voice bears little trace of his San Angelo, Texas roots, and his fragile lyrics hint at hidden fears and turbulent waters. Massey searches this world for justice and peace, and judging by his remote but profound songs, the world has come up a little short.

Will T. was ambitious and an early learner, cassette recording and handing out tapes of his first album Pickin’, Poker and Pickup Trucks, while still in high school. He graduated, moved to Austin and made an immediate splash, releasing Kickin’ up Dust in 1988 and Slow Study in 1989, working with the likes of Lloyd Maines, Ponty Bone and Tish Hinojosa. He also began an impressive touring schedule with folks like Townes van Zandt, Chris Isaak, Joe Ely, Steve Earle, Robert Earl Keen.

Then he kicked it into overdrive. In 1991, at the age of twenty-one, he had landed a record deal with MCA and released Will T. Massey, teaming up with Roy Bittan, Mike Campbell and Kenny Aronoff. The work was well received by the industry and the critics, and he was nationally lauded in the pages of Rolling Stone, Time Magazine and The New York Daily News.

But something began to go very wrong. Will’s demeanor began to change, his behavior became increasingly erratic and irrational.

He was entering a long and dark journey of bewilderment and isolation, a journey that would see little light for another thirteen years. A stint in Seattle, then back to Austin. Lost, alone, often homeless. Involuntary hospitalizations. Then, with the help of a last good friend, he found a doctor he could trust and a name for his illness: schizophrenia.

Will ultimately sought treatment and began to reclaim his art, releasing two albums in 2005, Acoustic Session and Alone. He followed with Letters in the Wind in 2006 and Wayward Lady in 2008. In the years since, Will T. has continued to make his way in this world and show us his beautiful heart. He has recently released another record of original work, The Weathering.

Pour a glass of your favorite and enter the soaring mind and delicate soul of Will T. Massey.

Three things to know about Will T. Massey: (1) the political bent of Wayward Lady was inspired by a letter James McMurtry wrote to Billboard challenging other songwriters to be more outspoken about world events, (2) the great Lloyd Mains produced Slow Study, and (3) he once had a video on Country Music Television.

If you love Will T. Massey, Austin Songwriter suggests you check out Blaze Foley, Ana Egge and BettySoo.

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